At just under 30 minutes, Bad Jokes is the perfect length for Jae's scattershot attention span. The effortlessly cool jazz of "Seventy 8," for example, abruptly morphs into a warbly guitar passage halfway through, before sputtering off into a series of spoken-word samples. That head-scratcher of a beat comes from guest producer Jonwayne, while a star turn from Flying Lotus provides the scratchy psychedelia on "Oatmeal Face." Meanwhile, Jae's own beats are not to be underestimated. The bad trip atmosphere of "King Raid" is a welcome digression from typical hip-hop fodder, and the title track crushes a generic piano sample with crowd noise and other odd outbursts, which colour between the lines of its lyrics.
Like his friends in LA, Jae obviously takes after legendary beatsmith Madlib, and Madlib's partner-in-crime MF DOOM also seems to be an inspiration. Jae does rambling raps packed with word-play just as well as DOOM ("Bad Jokes," "Court Jester"). He delights in the sounds of words and the drawl of vowels, and when he dives head-first into a single subject he attacks it with his enormous vocabulary. "Pervert" is as funny as it is creepy, a tale of a deviant where Jae sounds legitimately disgusted, spit flying with each consonant. "Guns N Butter," meanwhile, is a winding treatise on society, via education, poverty and excess. It's the kind of track that would seem like a real achievement from another artist, but here feels like just another tossed-off freestyle for a rapper whose verses are as effortless as they are abundant.
Fri / 16 Aug 2013
01. Evil Laugh
02. King Raid
03. Seventy 8 (produced by Jonwayne)
04. Oatmeal Face (produced by Flying Lotus)
05. Soul Yoga (Indian Man) feat. Isreal (produced by Oliver the 2nd)
07. Bad Jokes
08. Guns N Butter feat. Oliver the 2nd
09. Court Jester